• Structural reorganization of cylindrical nanoparticles triggered by polylactide stereocomplexation

      Sun, L.; Pitto-Barry, Anaïs; Kirby, N.; Schiller, T.L.; Sanchez, A.M.; Dyson, M.A.; Sloan, J.; Wilson, N.R.; O'Reilly, R.K.; Dove, A.P. (2014-12-17)
      Co-crystallization of polymers with different configurations/tacticities provides access to materials with enhanced performance. The stereocomplexation of isotactic poly(L-lactide) and poly(D-lactide) has led to improved properties compared with each homochiral material. Herein, we report the preparation of stereocomplex micelles from a mixture of poly(L-lactide)-b-poly(acrylic acid) and poly(D-lactide)-b-poly(acrylic acid) diblock copolymers in water via crystallization-driven self-assembly. During the formation of these stereocomplex micelles, an unexpected morphological transition results in the formation of dense crystalline spherical micelles rather than cylinders. Furthermore, mixture of cylinders with opposite homochirality in either THF/H2O mixtures or in pure water at 65 °C leads to disassembly into stereocomplexed spherical micelles. Similarly, a transition is also observed in a related PEO-b-PLLA/PEO-b-PDLA system, demonstrating wider applicability. This new mechanism for morphological reorganization, through competitive crystallization and stereocomplexation and without the requirement for an external stimulus, allows for new opportunities in controlled release and delivery applications.